North Carolina lawmakers seem to be under the impression that the Freedom of Information Act doesn't apply to them.
But they can't ignore subpoenas for the release of communications related to the state’s new voting law, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled yesterday.
The League of Women Voters of North Carolina brought the lawsuit against the state on behalf of North Carolinians who could face substantial hardship in exercising their right to vote under the 2013 Voter Information Verification Act.
Along with mandating voter identification, provisions in the law eliminate a week of early voting, end same day voter registration and prohibit voting out of precinct. Critics of the law say it will unduly burden African-American voters in the state.
In Texas where a similar sweeping voter law passed, public records revealed that lawmakers knew the law would dilute the Latino vote in the state.
District Judge Thomas Schroeder upheld a magistrate’s ruling rejecting North Carolina lawmakers’ efforts to withhold emails related to the passage of the law.
While the ruling doesn’t go as far as ordering the release of specific communications, it “means lawmakers will no longer be allowed to hide behind a veil of secrecy,” according to Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project.
“This ruling is terrific news for every North Carolinian who values integrity and transparency in our elections,” said Chris Brook, legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina.
Speaking of integrity and transparency, it’s been 193 days since the INDY made a public records request to Governor McCrory’s office regarding the Governor’s out-of-state travel costs and companions.
That's half a year.
In a February email, the Governor’s former spokesperson Kim Genardo said the office was “working on pulling any invoices that may pertain to (the) request.”
A call to Governor’s current spokesperson, Josh Ellis, was not immediately returned.